Freedom Through His Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love, that’s how freedom grows. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

God created us with a free will. Our freedom is ours to determine how to use or lose. When we indulge in decisions that are not what God intended, we can become trapped in a pattern and are no longer free. However, when we use our freedom to serve one another in love, we find that our freedom grows, and consequently, our joy multiplies. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us and grow us as we pursue a life of loving Him and loving one another.

We’re called to freedom,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

So let us choose well;

In love, opt to serve,

As His goodness dwells.

He dwells in each heart,

That chooses to ask;

He leads us to serve,

To love with each task.

For it’s only love,

That shows the Lord’s grace;

It sets all things right,

Brings peace to each place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to live in freedom. Thank You that as we love and serve and honor You, we grow in our understanding of what it is to be free from all that has hindered us in the past. Forgive us for holding onto things we should not. Teach us to release that which does not extend love to You or to those around us. Show us true freedom in You. Lead us to love those around us by serving and honoring each other. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we freely choose to serve one another in love. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His Name when you served the saints – and you continue to serve them. – Hebrews 6:10

Unity Through Love

Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say. That there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, HCSB)

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV)

My brothers and sisters, I urge you by the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, to come together in agreement. Do not allow anything or anyone to create division among you. Instead, be restored, completely fastened together with one mind and shared judgment. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, VOICE)

It seems that what we are called to do is the very opposite of what popular culture is trying to instill in us. Everywhere I look, there are calls for division rather than unity. Instead of working to agree on the main things, and agreeing to disagree on lesser things, people are pitted against one another without conversation or seeking to understand. This space of agreeing with one another provides a place for unity. It must start within our households, then our churches, and then expand to communities at large. Our charge and our call is to love God and love one another. If we are earnestly seeking the Lord to lead us to do both, unity will follow. There is no room for hate and dissent if love is what leads. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we might be joined together in common purpose as we love one another.

To live united,

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Is God’s own great plan;

He leads us in love,

Helps us understand.

For where we seek Him,

He will show the way;

To rise together,

United in faith.

For where there is faith,

There too should be love;

United purpose,

From the Lord above.

Turn off the tv,

And choose stop the scroll;

Seek the Lord to love,

As goodness unfolds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plan for us is to be united, not divided. Thank You that it is by Your love that we can find common ground and choose to agree to love. Forgive us for the times that we have found ourselves caught up in the dissent. Please redirect our hearts to focus on love. Show us how to be united instead of divided. Lead us to love on purpose with purpose, so that we may become united with those around us. Teach us to love those around us with different views and perspectives in a way that unites us together by choosing to love first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love You and those around us in ways that bring unity.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus. – Romans 15:5

So Love Shines Through

For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints – and you continue to serve them. – (Hebrews 6:10, HCSB)

God is fair, and He will remember all the work you have done. He will remember that you showed your love to Him by helping His people and that you continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, ERV)

Because God is not unjust or unfair, He won’t overlook the work you have done or the love you have carried to each other in His name while doing His work, as you are still doing. – (Hebrews 6:10, VOICE)

When we love and serve those around us like Jesus, He sees, knows and remembers. He is pleased when we love others as He has loved us. We do not do these things to get something, but rather it is out of the overflow of all that He has done for us that we are propelled to do likewise. May we ever be aware of the goodness of God and how He loves us, so that we may go forth and serve in love, helping those around us like Him.

The Lord is faithful,

He sees what we do;

Not for a reward,

But so love shines through.

Each time we choose love,

Show kindness and serve;

The Lord is well pleased,

For good is observed.

Not our own goodness,

But rather, it’s His;

To do what He’s done,

And give as He gives.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your goodness, kindness, mercy and love, over and over again. Thank You that it is from that place of knowing Your grace, that we are equipped and empowered to love and serve like You. Thank You that You see and remember and are pleased when we love others as You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have not. Teach us to seek You and trust You to lead us to love and serve well in every situation and circumstance. Show us how to love and serve each person we meet, so that they might gain glimpses of Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love and serve out of the overflow of all that You continue to pour into us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

All Through Him

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. – (Romans 11:36, HCSB)

Yes, God made all things. And everything continues through Him and for Him. To God be the glory forever! Amen. – (Romans 11:36, ERV)

Everything comes from Him; everything happens through Him; everything ends up in Him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes. – (Romans 11:36, MSG)

As we draw ever closer to the close of what has been the most challenging school year yet, I cannot help but give God praise for all He has done throughout every day. He has provided strength in our weariness, and hope in spaces of despair. Today, we begin the twenty-day countdown. Twenty more school-day wakeups and the year will be done. I don’t know about you, but when the days remaining are countable on our fingers and toes, it seems far more manageable. This morning, as I prepare for my day, not only do I present my requests for strength and peace and patience and love, but also, I give God praise for all He has done, is doing, and will continue to do. May we rise with purpose and make the most of each day that we draw breath.

Twenty days remain,

Home stretch…

Until we are through;

Year never-ending,

Almost done, it’s true.

God has been faithful,

To provide our needs;

His grace, sufficient,

And His love exceeds.

On the darkest days, 

In Him, was still light;

The song in our hearts,

Hope, love and delight.

Let us choose rise up,

With purpose, go forth;

Love one another,

And bask in God’s warmth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all things are in You, from You, with You and through You; for You lead, guide, sustain and strengthen us to do more than we ever hoped or imagined. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth of who You are and how You carry us when our strength is gone. Teach us to trust and praise You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they may know glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You forever for who You are and how You lovingly lead us through all things. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. – John 1:3

Present to Save

Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy. – (Zephaniah 3:17, HCSB)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, He’ll calm you with His love and delight you with His songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, MSG)

God is with us. He is ready to fight on our behalf and save us. As our Father, He delights in His children and brings comfort and peace. We can trust Him to be who He says He is, and that He will do what He says He will do. I find myself in an odd season of life. I know far too many friends who are fighting sickness and disease, yet incredibly, they are each holding on in faith and trusting God as they fight. It is because they know the goodness of God, that they are able to fight and trust and know peace. I’m not sure where I am going with this, other than when we don’t know what to do, God does. He sees, He knows and He cares, and He is with us through all things. May we ever seek the Lord who is present among us, and trust Him to fight, to bring us peace, and to be the hope that we hold in our hearts.

The Lord is present,

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He’s mighty to save;

He’s willing to fight,

For us, each new day.

He takes joy in us,

Because we are His;

His love brings us peace,

He does what He says.

Faithful forever,

In Him we can trust;

Seek Him in all things,

He is good and just.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever, and that we can trust in You in all things and at all times. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, You remain present to help. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when things seem dismal. Lead us in Your love, for with You, there is always hope and help. Teach us to love those around us in ways that convey Your goodness and faithfulness forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to trust You to be who You say You are, and to do what You say You will do. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Turn, Lord! Rescue me; save me because of Your faithful love. – Psalm 6:4

Hope Provides Peace and Joy

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, HCSB)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

One of the best things about weddings and funerals is the opportunity to see and connect with those whom one has not seen in a long time. Yesterday, that held true for me as I attended a funeral. Though relatively brief interactions, I was blessed to see and greet a former teacher and colleague, a classmate and teammate, and a long-time friend with whom my path crosses regularly and randomly. There is something about being in the presence of those one has known that brings joy and peace. For those of us who hope in Christ, there is the comfort that we will see one another again; be it sooner, later, and ultimately into eternity. Goodbyes are merely “see you laters”. May God, the source of all hope, bless you with joy and peace as His love overflows in and through you.

The God of all hope,

Fills our hearts with peace;

For where there is hope,

Faith and love increase.

May we choose to trust,

And never let go;

God, our Provider,

From Whom all good flows.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You are our Source;

Peace, joy and comfort,

As we run our course.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Provider of every good and perfect gift. Thank You that You grant us hope, fill us with Your peace, and provide us with joy and goodness that overflows to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust in You in all things, for You are where hope and help come from. Show us how to love those around us in ways that pass on Your goodness and kindness and grow faith and hope in each heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us with hope in You, and praise You for the peace and joy that follow. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Thankful Through All Things

Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, HCSB)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

To pray constantly makes sense and is a natural inclination; it is simply to thank God for the blessings and ask Him for help in the struggles; it is ongoing conversations with our Creator. However, rejoicing always is a challenge. It is easy to rejoice when all is well, yet it takes an intentional effort to do so when it is not. To rejoice requires us to remember our reason for joy. Joy is not circumstantial, but rather it is found deep within the heart through the hope we have in Christ. Gratitude takes but a momentary pause to recall all the reasons there are to give God thanks, even in the midst of difficulties. He is good, and His love knows no end. May we celebrate God’s goodness always, and give Him thanks for His nearness in all things. 

To rejoice always,

Is seeing the joy;

not in external,

But what hearts employ.

In all things, always,

Lord, help us to pray;

For Your love equips,

Gratitude each day.

God, help us to see,

Your good in all things;

Your nearness and grace,

And hope that You bring.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, even when our circumstances are not. Thank You that the hope, help and love we have in You bring joy. Help us to rejoice in You always, and to praise You for who You are and how You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of our reasons to rejoice in You. Show us how to hold hope in our hearts through every season, and lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and give You praise in all things and at all times for who You are and how You love and hold us up with Your mighty hands. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Hearts Full of Praise

He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!” – (Luke 19:40, HCSB)

But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my followers didn’t say them, these stones would shout them.” – (Luke 19:40, ERV)

But He said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.” – (Luke 19:40, MSG)

During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His followers, who were many, began to praise God for all the miracles that they had seen through Jesus. The Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus to rebuke His disciples and the verse above is how He responded. We were made to praise. The more we see and know and understand who God is and how He loves, we cannot help but praise Him. All of creation testifies of His goodness, and so should we. Every act of kindness, each encouraging word, all of the smiles at strangers – everything we do that is driven by His love, testifies of His goodness in our lives. May we be intentional to live His love out loud in our lives, and honor Him through all that we say and do.

We are made to praise,

Give thanks to the Lord;

For all of His love,

And grace He affords.

If we do not speak,

Represent His love;

The rocks will cry out,

Praise the Lord above.

So, seek to praise Him,

With all that we do;

May all be in love,

Represent Him true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are worthy of all of our thanks and praise. Thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how deeply and completely You know and love us all. Forgive us for our lack of praise or lack of love as we walk out our days. Teach us to live and love as You intended. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that all that we do and say demonstrates who You are and how completely You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live out our days with hearts full of praise. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – Psalm 19:1

Strength, Endurance, Patience and Joy

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, HCSB)

God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. – (Colossians 1:11, VOICE)

Strength, endurance, patience and joy are exactly what I need to navigate my days. God knows what we need and is faithful to provide as we seek Him. In all things, He is good, so our reason for joy to remain, even when things are difficult, is firmly established. May we ever seek our Savior to lead us and guide us, as He strengthens us with His power, and provides the patience and endurance we need to navigate our days with joy.

O Lord, be our strength,

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In all that we do;

Patient endurance,

To see each day through.

Be our Source of joy,

For hope is in You;

Lead us in Your love,

Make each day brand new.

Grant us Your resolve,

To keep keeping on;

With love unending,

In You, we are strong.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen us and lead us in Your love. Thank You that patience and endurance come from You, and true joy is found in the hope we hold in You. Forgive us for the times that we have not turned to You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You are always faithful. Lead us to love like You, so that we might encourage those around us and share joy in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and thank You for Your faithfulness to meet us where we are and provide what we need. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

But I will sing of Your strength and will joyfully proclaim Your faithful love in the morning. For You have been a stronghold for me, a refuge in my day of trouble. – Psalm 59:16

Comfort That Conveys Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

This weekend has been exactly what my husband and I have needed. The weight of the week had grown heavy, and time away together has been a space to relax and recharge. For me, I find joy being outside in God’s creation. There is nothing that makes me more aware of Him than fresh air and all of the colors that surround us. My husband is his best self when he gets to let go of the burdens and be himself. After much pondering about how to best discover a way for both of us to really relax and enjoy our time together, I ordered two e-scooters and helmets for us, prior to this weekend. My Viking and I scooted along miles of trails that run beside the bay, and run through lush green vegetation. We were further able to explore the town, and spent hours riding around, taking in all of the beauty of the area. I am not sure which brought me more joy – our surroundings or watching my mister play and enjoy himself in a childlike manner. I don’t think a smile ever left our faces. We will have time again this morning to explore a bit more before we need to pack up and head home. Already, I feel as if my soul has been lightened, and I am better equipped to navigate the week that lies ahead. God is good, and I am so grateful that He provides joy in ordinary spaces when we take time to get out and enjoy all that He has made.

When life feels heavy,

Take time and slow down;

Observe surroundings,

For peace will be found.

View all the beauty,

That His hands have made;

Joy rises within,

And worries will fade.

Place all in His hands,

For they’re strong enough;

He lightens our load,

Brings smooth to the rough.

Rise up each morning,

And look all around;

Joy is waiting,

In Christ it is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring our cares and burdens to You, and You soothe our souls and fill us with Your joy as we delight in You. Forgive us for allowing worries to overtake us instead of bringing all before You. Thank You that You call us unto Yourself and restore joy anew. Show us how to love those around us well, so they too, may be filled with Your joy and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You with our worries and cares, and recognize the joy that is within as we appreciate all that You have made. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12